Monday, July 7, 2014

7/7/14: Niagara Falls USA Get Up Close With The Falls

Last but not least in my series of posts on Niagara Falls USA is our visit to the Falls itself and Niagara Falls State Park.  There is so much to see and do near the Falls.  We did all of this in a day but you could split it up over two days.   We used the Discovery Pass which gives you a 35% discount from purchasing all attractions ala carte.  It includes the Maid of the Mist Boat tour, Cave of the Winds, Niagara Adventure Theatre, take the Trolley, the Discovery Center, Aquarium of Niagara and take the Trolley to all attractions. 
First off being on the New York side you can really get close to the Falls.  There are so many lookout points to see different vantage points.
It is so lovely!  I tried taking some panorama pictures.  It still can't do it justice.
You can click on these and make them larger for better viewing.
First up is the Maid of the Mist boat tour.  
This tour runs every 15 minutes.  You purchase your ticket or give your voucher from the Discovery Pass.  You get fed in to a line and your are given a poncho for the water.  You are then sent on to the next available boat.
The views are spectacular.  Here you can see the kids with the falls behind them.
Me and the kids before getting too wet.  This is a tour that you must take.
The boat takes you past the American Falls and right up to the Horse Shoe Falls.
Here are the kids with the Horse Shoe Falls behind them.
Wow!  Hearing the Falls is amazing too!
My pictures truly can't do it justice.
Here you can see another boat going up to the Falls.
I love this photo with the Canadian flag off the back of the boat.
Here we are a little wet but enjoying the beautiful views.

Here is the observation deck that you can go on to get some lovely views of the Falls.
I took this picture from that Observation Deck.
This is the first time the kids saw the Falls from that Observation Deck.
Then from there we went to the Niagara Adventure Theater.  This was a great way to learn a bit more about the History of Niagara Falls and also hear about some of the stunts people have done like walking across the falls on a tight rope and going over the Falls in a barrel.  
At this point instead of walking we took the Trolley ride to get to lunch at The Top of the Falls since it is at the other side of the park.  The Trolley is a great value as it is $2 for adults and $1 for kids to ride all day long.  You are given a wrist band to ride.
The Top of the Falls Restaurant is at the top of the Horse Shoe Falls.  There are beautiful overlooks here and it is a great place to eat.
We had a lovely table at the window and could look out at the Falls.
I had the Fish and Chips and it was really good.  This was a great place to take a mid-day break and reasonably priced.
Here you can see a view inside.
Next up we went over to the Cave of the Winds.  
Don't be confused by the name, even though it says Cave you do not journey through Caves.  For this experience you are first given ponchos and specially designed sandals so don't worry about what shoes you are wearing.  Then you take an elevator down 175 feet to experience this up close and personal experience with the falls.
You follow wooden walkways along the Niagara River to the Hurricane Deck which is super close to the Bridal Veil Falls.  Here you can see the Hurricane Deck.  It does get very wet up there but Evan loved it.  I took him up there and then so did John.
It is very hard to take pictures up there but I did take this one with my iPhone which was in a plastic case to protect it.
Here are some more views!  I love this one with the bird flying.  There were tons of birds there.

They actually rebuild these stairs every year.

Just lovely and so close!
You must do this!!!
To finish off our day we hopped on the Trolley and headed over the the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Aquarium of Niagara.
The Discovery Center is small but there are some cool things to see.
They have some Real Time Cameras which is cool.
Then off to the Aquarium of Niagara.  It is a small aquarium but there is some cool stuff.  You can spend about an hour or a little more here.  They also have Sea Lion Training sessions you can watch and Penguin Feeding times.
I can walk like a Penguin.
Lauren checking out the Sea Lion.
You can also view the tank from above.
What a busy day!  Here are some more visions of Niagara Falls.  I love the Rainbow in this one!
 The kids the first time seeing the Falls!
 The kids posing for me.
 Now the Falls at night.  At 9 pm they light up the Falls which I love.  Here is Lauren posing as it is starting to get dark.
 Both kids as it starts to get dark.
Now it is dark, so beautiful!  Again my pictures can't do it justice. 
Here is some video clips of visions of Niagara from the scenic overlooks and the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds:
I hope I have inspired you to check out Niagara Falls USA and see how beautiful it is.
Find the Niagara Falls USA Official Visitor Center Online:
Twitter:  @NiagaraFallsUSA #NiagaraUSA

Disclosure:  This trip was sponsored by the Niagara Falls USA Tourism and Convention Corporation.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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